Little did James Christie know about 240 years ago when he sold his masterpiece to Rembrandt and Rubens to Catherine the Great. That his auction house would one day offer a virtual monkey to a Crypto company for over $1 million.
Even Sotheby’s founder Samuel Baker, who auctioned hundreds of rare books for about $1,000 in 1744. Had no plans to sell copies of the source code to the network as a non-fungible token (NFT) north of $5 million.
“Everyone wants to sell NFT,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of Popular Science and Culture. “My inbox is completely clogged.”
Sotheby’s sells $65 million to NFT in 2021, while sworn rival Christie’s sells more than $100 million in a new generation of Crypto assets that use blockchain to capture who is digital. Such as images and videos. However, they can be viewed, freely copied, and shared. Like any other online file.
According to Art Market Research, the world’s leading auction house sales data accounts for about 5.5% of their contemporary art sales.
This is a leap since NFT was only developed in the last year.
Many buyers fall into a new category of wealthy clients: people who make their fortunes in Cryptocurrencies, arts professionals involved in selling NFTs at prominent auction houses. They told Reuters. For example, in Sotheby’s online NFT sale in June, bringing in $17.1 million, nearly 70% of buyers were beginners.
Three NFT animated monkeys looted at Christie’s in London last month for £982,500 ($1.3 million) were bought by Kosta Kanchev, who runs a cryptocurrency lending platform called Nexo. The cartoon from the Bored Ape Yacht Club set is Christie’s first NFT sale in Europe and is being offered at the most significant private auction since the pandemic began.
In a sign of the changing times, Kanchev joined hands with art collectors and bid on David Hockney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Bridget Riley. In contrast, in the physical art market, the primary sales of artists are usually managed by galleries. Whereas auction houses have traditionally focused on selling in the secondary market.
“The biggest surprise for me is that artists want to work directly with auction houses. We’re always in the aftermarket,” said Rebecca Bowling, a 20th-century veteran contemporary art specialist at Phillips, another global auction house.
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